Corporal William E. Cassedy, 1785481, Company I, 315th Infantry Regiment, 79th Infantry Division. Wounded in Action on 29 September 1918 when he was hit in the chest and right hip by shrapnel. Born on 19 October 1886, he entered the service on 7 December 1917 from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania at 31 years of age. Before entering the service, he worked as a Trolley Conductor.
The men of 3rd battalion, 315th Infantry Regiment began preparing for war at “Camp Meade,” Maryland (now Fort Meade) from April 1918 until they departed by train on 7 July 1918 to board a troop ship destined from France. A cheering crowd saw the soldiers off from the train station on 7 July 1918. They traveled by train to Hoboken, New Jersey where they boarded the former Hamburg-American liner “Amerika,” renamed the “America” which was then the third largest U.S. transport ship. The America dropped anchor in Brest, France nine days later on 18 July, 1918.
The 315th Infantry Regiment spent the next six weeks training in the Tenth Training Area, before moving to the front on 8 September 1918 . the journey lasted several days with the regiment finally taking it place in the trenches on 13 September 1918. There section of the line was located 9 miles northwest of Verdun. The skulls and bones of those killed in the brutal fighting of 1916 through 1918 were still openly lying on the ground when Corporal Cassedy's unit took up their positions.
Opposite the 315th Infantry Regiment were the German lines and the nearly obliterated villages of Haucourt and Malancourt. The Germans had spent almost four years creating a strong defense that was 11 miles deep. This sector of the line had become a fairly quite sector of the line, with French troops nicknaming it the “Tres-Bon” Sector. This was about to change as the Allies began preparing for an offensive in this sector on 18 September. On 26 September, the men of the 79th Infantry Division went “over the top” as part of the leading elements of the attack following a six hour artillery barrage.
The 315th Infantry Regiment took over for the 314th Infantry Regiment on 27 September and continued to advance against heavy German opposition. On 29 September, Corporal Cassedy was hit by shrapnel from an artillery shell in his chest and right hip. He was evacuated and spent a long period of time in the hospital, with is discharge from the Army being granted on 15 October 1920 at Walter Reed Hospital, Washington, D.C. It is not yet known if he had remained in the hospital for two years or was stationed there following his recovery.
William “Ed” Cassedy went on to a distinguished career in the Uniformed Secret Service working at the U.S. Mint from March 1930 until he retired in October 1949 as a Lieutenant. He eventually moved with his wife to Homestead, Florida where he died on 4 August 1963 at the age of 76.
He was buried at Arlington National Cemetery, Arlington, Virginia on 8 August 1964. The condolence book from his funeral has over 15 pages of signatures from people who came to pay their last respects. He received his Purple Heart on 4 August 1932.
Michael Robert Patterson was born in Arlington and is the son of a former officer of the US Army. So it was no wonder that sooner or later his interests drew him to American history and especially to American military history. Many of his articles can be found on renowned portals like the New York Times, Washingtonpost or Wikipedia.
Reviewed by: Michael Howard